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Palm Springs Street Fair: VillageFest and What You Should Know

by: Welk Resorts | June 20, 2019

VillageFest has been a weekly institution in the Southern California desert community since it first began in 1991. This Palm Springs street fair attracts thousands of locals and visitors to the area every Thursday evening. This event surrounds attendees with a small-town feel as they casually walk amongst a diverse selection of artisans, artists, and other sellers. During an evening here, you’ll find a wide variety of products such as fresh food, flowers, and jewelry amidst a relaxed, friendly atmosphere created by talented musicians playing their tunes.

Do you want to be enticed by classic Californian artwork? How about by a store that provides tasty delicacies? Maybe you’re on the lookout for classic rock CDs. Perhaps you just want to see what grabs your focus while you’re browsing, something that you never knew that you wanted until you saw it. Whichever of those questions fits you, make sure to head to this Palm Springs street fair.

When is VillageFest?

People walking along the street at Villagefest

Photo by Villagefest

This Palm Springs street fair is held every Thursday evening with rare exceptions, Thanksgiving being one of those. During the winter months, October–May, it runs from 6–10pm. At this time, the number of vendors will near or surpass 200. The rest of the year, June–September, the hours of the Palm Springs street fair are 7–10pm. During these months, the vendor number will be closer to 100. The permanent businesses located along Palm Canyon Drive have different hours than the street festival does itself.

Where is VillageFest?

VillageFest is located on Palm Canyon Drive from Belardo Road to Indian Canyon Road, a three-block distance. The Palm Springs street fair is closed to vehicles in order to create the relaxed, festive fair atmosphere that exists there. Booths are situated on both sides of the street with pedestrians walking in the middle.

Live music at the Palm Springs street fair

Live music creates a unique atmosphere. Photo by Where’s Eldo

Interestingly, this road used to be part of California State Route 111, which meant that it couldn’t be closed without special permission from the California Department of Transportation. However, that route was moved to the north of the downtown area so that Palm Canyon Road can now be much more simply and easily closed for events such as this.

It should also be noted that the great restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues that are permanently located along this street are often open late every Thursday to coincide with this VillageFest. Look for “BOLT” signs in the windows; “BOLT” stands for “Business Open Late Thursday.” Several of them even offer specials every Thursday such as half-price appetizers and drinks while Palm Springs Art Museum offers free admission from 4–8pm every Thursday.

What About Parking?

Do note that there is no official parking for VillageFest, so plan accordingly. The best thing that you can do is arrive as early as possible. Head to the parking garages that are located in the downtown area first, but they do fill up pretty fast, partly because a number of them are free. You may need to move on to other options if they’re all full. Note that there is a free parking garage for four-hour stays located near the Palm Springs Art Museum; this might be the best option location-wise as long as you arrive there before it fills up.

wooden crafts at Villagefest

Gorgeous wood art by local artists. Photo by Where’s Eldo

Some who miss out on these options decide to park on Indian Canyon Drive to the north of VillageFest or in the blocks to the east of the festivities and walk from there.

Special Events

organizers and young child dressed as superheroes

A ComicCon theme got all kinds of heroes out one Thursday. Photo by VillageFest

If you time your trip to the desert with a holiday season, VillageFest will offer special holiday festivities you won’t want to miss. For example, during the week of Halloween, costume contests, zombie walks, and trick-or-treating are part of the activities on offer. Meanwhile, Santa Claus makes regular visits during the Christmas season, and the vendors also create a winter wonderland as best as possible considering that snowfall is not a regular Palm Springs feature.

One special event that took place recently was on March 17, 2016. This was when visitors and regulars of this Palm Springs street fair celebrated VillageFest’s 25th anniversary. The festivities that evening included the crowd singing “Happy Birthday,” and thousands of birthday cupcakes being passed to those attending.

The Vendors

Palm Springs street fair goods for sale

Some of the beautiful art pieces available for purchase at VillageFest. Photo by TripAdvisor

If you want to plan your trip around specific vendors, you can find the list of VillageFest vendors online. Some of the wares offered by these vendors include delicious meals and snacks, handcrafted jewelry, sound systems, books, soap, horse-drawn carriage rides, t-shirts, and hand-crafted butterflies. However, to get the full Palm Springs street fair experience, you can simply head out and explore what’s on offer as you wander around.

Where to Stay

If you’re heading out to Palm Springs to check out VillageFest, you’re not alone. In fact, a number of those who head here on a regular basis make the long trip from homes that are based in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. If you want to find a convenient home away from home during your getaway to this Palm Springs street fair, Desert Oasis by Welk Resorts is the place for you. At this gorgeous location, you can enjoy all the benefits of home in fully equipped villas with resort luxury. Book a stay online and start planning your visit today!

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